Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter 2018

Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays. I love everything about it. Christmas kind of overwhelms me with its high expectations and hype, but Easter is awesome.   Easter is chill and low key and it is all about Jesus. It is my kind of holiday.

This year Easter has looked a little bit different in this house due to my unfortunate life sabbatical called broken ankle. No shopping trips for me for matching outfits for my kids, no easter egg dying, no decorations, nothing. I did not even make it to church today for the youth easter vigil fire or even one church service. 

Yet, this Easter has felt special.  It has felt somewhat holy to me because Jesus and I have had lots and lots and lots of time together in the past four weeks.  We have completed Beth Moore's Entrusted bible study together learning about Paul and Timothy and their ministry throughout Second Timothy.  I am also halfway through Lisa Harper's study of Mark.

 Not only have Jesus and I have spent lots of time together in His word, he has listened (hopefully patiently) to my many questions about my ankle.  "Why now Lord?"  "Why..... there was so much momentum going on within our youth-WHY????"   "Two surgeries, Lord?  TWO?? " "Four surgeons?"  "Wow God, you go big I guess...."

Blessedly I believe God can handle my whiny questions and has used this sabbatical to teach me lots of life lessons.  I am still processing them but this morning my pain woke me up a little after 5 a.m. when I should have been going to church with Kyle and the youth to attend the vigil fire.  I could not go back to sleep so I had my own easter vigil "fire" with my yankee candle, my bible, and Jesus.  It was beautiful and holy time with me and Jesus. 

I do not understand everything that happens on this side of heaven but I do trust who holds me in the palm of His hands.  Jesus.  He is everything to me.  As my one of my favorite Easter songs reminds me:

And as He Stands in Victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ 

One of the only traditions we held onto this year was our Easter morning resurrection rolls we make for breakfast.  They are yummy and a great reminder of Jesus' resurrection from the tomb.  I missed making them with my youth and preschoolers, but there is always next year. 

once the church crowd dispersed, we visited church as a family and placed a daffodil from our yard into the beautiful cross for Memaw.  Her last year she was alive she asked me and Hope to put her a "real pretty flower" onto the cross for her.  Memaw loved this tradition as much as we do and no broken ankle was going to keep us from placing her flower into the cross.  I also love that my kids dressed themselves for Easter today-Kyle wore this to the Easter vigil fire and sunrise service and David and Hope dressed themselves.  I love that God is teaching me what is truly important and matching outfits did not make the list this year. 

This sight always makes me smile and maybe shed a few happy tears.  It reminds me of my Memaw whom I miss so much, it makes me grateful for raising our children in church, for the love within these walls, and makes me thankful for a Savior who saved us from our sins. 

Easter..... you are my kind of holiday.  Yummy resurrection rolls, great chocolate, low expectations, and a focus on a living Savior makes for a great holiday.  Even a broken ankle could not keep us from enjoying this wonderful day. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Road blocks

I am devoted planner type of girl.  I have a planner that I keep up with our busy schedule and we live by this planner.  As a youth leader I am already planning our summer activities.  But due to an unexpected broken ankle, I have not looked at my planner in a week as everything is cancelled for now and life has stopped.  I have hit a big road block!

Last weekend on an amazing youth retreat with our youth, I tripped while hiking in Townsend Tennessee.  We were five steps into the hike and I went down.  I had to have surgery the same day and it took  11 screws to fix it.  I am now home and am trying so hard to learn how to be still.

I did sneak out of town for 24 hours with some dear jesus girls to see Beth Moore.  I was DETERMINED to make this trip since we have been planning it for months.  I have even had a counter on my phone counting down the days until we go.  I loaded up with my scooter and wheelchair and off we went. 

The opening worship set I bawled.  I could not have stopped the tears if I had to.  The last time I went to a Beth Moore worship event I was pregnant with David.  I had NO IDEA what was to come in our family's life with his Down Syndrome diagnosis, move to Marion, Mike's crazy job and schedule during the superintendent years, David's cancer, and broken bones, and just life.  Through it all, God has been so incredibly faithful.  He has provided peace to us when our hearts were breaking, he has provided for our physical needs, and given us joy throughout the hard times.  I know that I am out there with my faith but how can I not share how God has provided for us and revealed his glory over and over again?!

While we were sitting in the hospital waiting for my surgery, the other chaperones sent me this picture from our retreat. My heart was broken in a million pieces.  Our spring retreat has become one of my favorite events we do because it is teaching kids how to have relaxing and quiet time with God.  The hike was the only thing we had planned outside of the retreat center. 

I did a Friday night devotional around the campfire to kick off our weekend theme of Be Different based on Romans 12:2.  I had made worksheets for the kids to study scripture and had planned a Saturday night worship plus tons of games and fun.  Because of our awesome chaperones some of it still got to happen but I missed it all.  But after Mike took me to ER and waited on me during surgery I insisted that he go back to the retreat center and proceed with his devotion for the kids and lead the prayer stations.  Despite being so sad over missing it, my heart was so full knowing that Mike was back there pointing kids to Christ.  I am forever grateful that he has embraced my youth job and has rolled up his sleeves to partner with me in this ministry. 

This is the ferocious ledge that I fell off on.  One of these days it will be funny but not yet.  It is also fitting that if you change the El on the end of Laurel to an A it would say Laura Falls.  Yep, that is exactly what happened. 

I am not going to lie, this injury has been so darn hard.  I am not used to sitting and being still.  I am not used to asking for help.  I am not used to this much down time.  But if I believe Jeremiah 29:11 that God has plans for us and they are good to help us prosper and not to harm us, then I will rest.  I am using this time to complete Beth Moore's Entrusted bible study based on Paul and 2 Timothy. 

So I am using my road block to rest and to study God's word.  Road blocks are part of life and I am trying so hard to be still and know He is God.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Hoops, Heels and hearts

This season has certainly been full of hearts, heels (one night only) and hoops in our family lately.  Basketball season keeps us incredibly busy but we love every moment of it.  We are a crazy basketball family for sure!  

My one night of high heels came for the hospital gala last weekend.  Being a preschool teacher, youth leader and attending a contemporary church means this gal does not wear heels often.  We did have a great night supporting our local hospital raising money for youth programs in our area.  Mike is on the hospital board now and loves it.  Leadership and vision are two spiritual gifts that God certainly blessed Mike Robinson with.  I posted about this earlier on facebook, but I recently hit the 30 pound weight loss mark this past week!  It has been a slow and steady better me project but I am excited to feel better and have more energy.  It was also fun to buy more jeans at Resurrection so I would not have to keep pulling mine up!
All three of our kiddos played basketball this past season.  Kyle was on the varsity team and had a great season.  He was the only under classmen pulled up this year and not only were the guys great to him but he learned and got better.
This kid is blessed with great coaches in his life. God has certainly put many great coaches and guys in his life to help him get better.  We are sad the high school season is over, but we look forward to trying out for another season of spring and summer travel.  Kyle is already hitting the weight room and gym to get ready for next season.  

I have not blogged since Resurrection and I am still not ready to put into words what an AMAZING weekend we had at #rez18 with 90 folks from our church.  90 people.  It was incredible.  Our entire family got to experience this mountaintop experience in Pigeon Forge together.  We are all works in progress and this was one of our best Resurrections ever.  The preacher, band, and our chaperones were amazing.  So thankful.  I never ever would have chosen youth ministry but my word what a blessing these teenagers are to me every single day.  I have battled flu, asthma and a secondary ear infection this past week and some of our youth girls sent me this.  Youth ministry is one of those blessings from God I never would have asked for.  He always knows best.

I know that many talk down about the next generation, but Mike and I would disagree.  God is raising up a mighty generation of church leaders and worship leaders.  We get to see it working so closely with the youth.  Since Resurrection, we have had a Sunday night bible study.  I chose Beth Moore's The Quest for our teen girls to do.  The first night I had 17 young ladies show up with $12 to buy their book and to dig into God's word.  I am blessed by their diligence and hard work.  If you have done a Beth Moore bible study you will know that her studies are amazing but come with about 30-45 minutes of homework (for five days) between sessions.  Despite these girls having busy lives with cheer, sports and school they are doing it.

I have spent my flu week laying in bed resting and planning our youth spring retreat coming up in March.  Mike will do the Saturday night devotion based on Romans 12:2 and our theme for the weekend will be Be Different.  I cannot wait.  There is nothing like spending a weekend with God, my family, and our youth.  We are also already working hard on our summer mission trip.

The amazing Sarah captured many pics of my boys on the court this season.  This picture makes me laugh so hard because here is manager Dave checking out their competition during warm-ups.  He loved every moment of being the manager for the middle school team.  It was so great for him and we are so thankful for his coaches for welcoming him into their basketball family.
My gorgeous, not so quiet, and jesus-loving roommates from Resurrection.  Not sure why this picture is crooked but my word these girls make me laugh.

Our little baller girl has loved every moment of her AAU season.  It has been hard to find true third grade tournaments and we have not gotten to play as much as we had hoped.   She loves watching and playing basketball just like her brothers and I love to watch her facial expressions as she plays.  This girl may not be the fastest on the court but she already has a high basketball IQ and wants to win.

Thanks for checking in our family!